Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurer: 1938
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith: 1955
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote: 1966
The Salzburg Connection by Helen MacInnes: 1968
Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth: 1971
Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett: 1978
Shibumi by Trevanian: 1979
Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith: 1981
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton: 1990
The Likeness by Tana French: 2008
Half the books on my list were written in the 1960's and 1970s, which reveals to me that my peak thriller-reading years were the 1970's. I would lump Gorky Park in with the 60's/70's titles as well, since it's a very cold war era book. Only two of my choices were published after 1981. I really do think this reflects my declining interest in the genre rather than the fact that no good thrillers were published during the last 30 years. In fact, I can think of a few more recent titles that I'm surprised didn't make the list. For example, I would have included (and would have voted for) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I was also surprised not to find any books by Barbara Vine, queen of the psychological thriller.
I have very specific memories of some of these books. Here is one: I know that I read In Cold Blood in 1976 while on a summer vacation with my family. I found the book so gripping that I insisted on reading it straight through until I finished it, and refused to leave our rented cabin until I was done. I remember my frustrated mother arguing with me that I could "read any time" and that I should be off swimming in the lake instead of holed up inside, which in retrospect is ironic, since my mother probably wanted me out in the lake so that she herself could get back to her reading.
And one more memory: In Shibumi, the hero is a master of an obscure*
*See Jonathan's excellent description of this art in the comments.